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Master's Degree in Engineering for Non-Engineers

Explore the different options non-engineers have for entering a master's degree program in engineering. Find out the admittance requirements and the career options after earning a master's degree.

How to Earn a Master's in Engineering as a Non-Engineering Graduate

While there aren't master's degree programs designed specifically for students without an undergraduate engineering background, programs in almost any specialty admit non-engineers provided they complete an extensive list of prerequisite courses. Alternatively, aspiring engineering graduate students can apply to bridge programs that provide a foundational course of study in math, science, and physics in addition to introductory engineering courses in their specialty. Students who complete this coursework can transition into a school's engineering master's degree program.

Admissions Requirements for Non-Engineers

Regardless of whether students pursue an engineering bridge program or apply directly to a master's degree program, candidates will need a bachelor's degree. Bridge programs might require some familiarity with calculus or programming, but the prerequisites for an engineering master's degree are much more extensive.

Many master's degree programs require students to have taken courses in calculus I, II, and III in addition to physics and differential equations, as these courses provide the foundation needed for the program. Additional prerequisites vary depending on the specialty and could include courses in computer programming, fluid mechanics, mechanics, and electronics. Some engineering programs in civil or environmental engineering also require students to have an undergraduate degree in such areas as biology, chemistry, and physics. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 may be required as well. Other requirements include letters of recommendation, a written statement of purpose, official transcripts, and resume.

Engineering Careers with Master's Degrees: Salary and Job Outlook

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers analyze maps and survey reports to plan and design infrastructure projects for both public and private sectors. They also handle documentation for project permits and examine test results on construction materials and sites. Civil engineers spend most of their time in an office working on their designs, but they also visit construction sites to check on a project's progress.

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers usually work in offices designing mechanical devices that can range from generators and turbines to refrigeration systems and elevators. They also visit worksites to oversee the manufacture these products and are in charge of solving problems related to mechanical devices in buildings and infrastructure projects.

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical and electronics engineers largely work for telecommunications companies, engineering firms, and the manufacturing industry. They are in charge of designing and developing electronic equipment and software products in addition to supervising the manufacturing and testing of these products to ensure quality and efficiency. Since they mostly do research and design, electrical and electronics engineers generally work in an office setting.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers design and test computer hardware systems used in a wide range of products, tasks that also require them to collaborate with software engineers. They also modify existing computer systems and oversee their manufacture.

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers work in various sectors, such as manufacturing, healthcare systems, and private firms, reviewing information like production schedules and product specifications to create more efficient control systems. They also develop and enact procedures for quality control. Industrial engineers either work in offices or worksites depending on the tasks at hand.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers conducting research to develop new processes in manufacturing, develop safety protocols, and conduct production tests. They also do research in other fields, such as biotechnology and life sciences. Chemical engineers can also be known as process engineers specializing in a specific process, such as polymerization and oxidation, or focus on an area like nanomaterials.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers are responsible for creating the biomedical equipment used in healthcare industries. They usually work in research and development designing instruments and software as well as developing new procedures. Biomedical engineers typically work for manufacturing companies, research facilities, and postsecondary institutions.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers typically work hand in hand with other experts in solving environmental problems, such as pollution. They prepare environmental reports as well as provide technical support on construction projects and environmental remediation efforts.

Engineering Field Median Salary (2019) Job Outlook (2018-2028)
Civil Engineer$87,0606%
Mechanical Engineer$88,4304%
Electrical and Electronics Engineer$101,2502%
Computer Hardware Engineer$117,2206%
Industrial Engineer$88,0208%
Chemical Engineer$108,7706%
Biomedical Engineer$91,4104%
Environmental Engineer$88,8605%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Master's degree programs in engineering are available to non-engineers who have completed prerequisite math, science, and engineering coursework, whether on their own or through a bridge program. Once admitted, students can earn a master's degree in preparation for careers in specialties that include environmental, civil, and computer engineering.